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Ardian woos U.S. and Asian money with 2.4 bln euro buyout fund

PARIS (Reuters) - Private equity firm Ardian, which was recently spun off from French insurer AXA , has completed fundraising for a new 2.4 billion euro ($3.26 billion) buyout fund with fresh money from the United States and Asia.

Investor sentiment on Europe has picked up as fears over the euro zone give way to bargain hunting, with the European private equity market recently enjoying its strongest quarter since 2010 in terms of deal value, according to data released on Thursday.

Ardian said it had already committed 24 percent of the fund to six mid-market deals, including investments in German pharmaceuticals specialist Riemser, Italian prosthetics maker Lima and French engineering group Fives.

The fund has also sealed 400 million euros in co-investment commitments.

"International (investor) interest is increasing," said Philippe Poletti, senior managing director at Ardian, citing the United States, Asia and the Middle East.

Ardian announced the completion of its spin-off from AXA on Monday in a deal that values the entity at 510 million euros. AXA will retain a 23 percent stake in the business, with management and employees owning 46 percent and other investors the remainder.

(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by David Goodman)

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